Legislative Update: April 14, 2015

Legislative Update: April 14, 2015

 

A Look At What’s Happening At The Capitol
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April 14, 2015

Let My People Thrive: Legislative Update

As people of faith, we believe our moral compass comes from the things God calls us to do. During this legislative session, the ISAIAH community is acting out of a fundamental set of values – dignity, inclusion, equity and redemption. Working together with our state leaders, we will put the truth of God’s love back at the center of our lives and our society.

Voter Rights Restoration / Driver’s Licenses for Immigrants / Juvenile Justice System Reform

The Minnesota House of Representatives has completed their process of moving legislation through Committees.  Several pieces of legislation related to the issues that we have been working on – Voter Rights Restoration, Driver’s Licenses for Immigrants, and Reform to the Juvenile Justice System – did not make it through the process.  However, these policy changes are still alive in the Minnesota Senate and ISAIAH leaders are pursuing other strategies for inclusion in other House legislation.  We continue to organize around these issues and plan to keep the up the pressure on our legislators.  Stay tuned for updates and notices about actions you can take to help advance these issues.

Juvenile Justice

The Juvenile Detention Alternatives Initiative (JDAI) is a collaborative effort between members of the juvenile justice system and the community working to create an effective, fair and efficient system that produces positive outcomes for youth, families and communities while protecting public safety.  The Senate Judiciary Committee held a hearing this week and voted to include a $5 million funding increase for JDAI in the omnibus judiciary bill that will be voted on by the full Senate

Transit Funding Hearing

While the Governor and the Senate have proposed major increases for transit service, the House GOP leadership is proposing a package that would result in massive cuts in service.  Even though ridership is up 14% over the past decade, the House proposal would CUT service by 15%.  This would result in a death spiral for transit–reduced service, increased fares, reduced ridership.

On April 9 a hearing was held on this proposal with a crowd of ISAIAH leaders and transit advocates in the room. Tom Untiedt from Valley of Peace Lutheran Church in Golden Valley, Socorro Lopez from Ascension Catholic Church in Minneapolis, and Amity Foster, an ISAIAH staff member and Take Action leader, testified on behalf of ISAIAH.  You can read Amity’s testimony here.

 

Payday Lending

On March 26, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau held a hearing on payday lending in Richmond, Virginia. At the hearing, a new proposal to regulate the predatory payday lending industry was unveiled. A coalition of Minnesota faith, consumer, and community groups, including ISAIAH, released a statement about the proposal.  Click here to read the statement.

Clergy Ask House Speaker To Lead On Racial Equity

In an open letter published in the Star Tribune, 62 clergy & religious leaders reminded House Speaker Kurt Daudt of his commitment to lead the Legislature towards common sense solutions and asked him to take concrete action to lead Minnesota to a more racially just future. Faith leaders called for action on 3 “clear, moral, common sense bills”-driver’s licenses for immigrants, restore the vote and juvenile justice reform.

Among the clergy signing the letter (you can read it here) were Rev. Billy G. Russell of the Minnesota State Baptist Convention; Bishop Larry Wohlrobe of the Northwestern Minnesota Synod, Bishop Steven of the Southeastern Minnesota Synod, Bishop Ann Svennungsen of the Minneapolis Area Synod and Bishop Jon Anderson of the Southwestern Minnesota Synod.

2015 Legislative Faith Summits

As part of a series of gatherings, congregations throughout Minnesota are inviting local legislators to meet with them for a dialogue about our shared values of dignity, inclusion, equity and redemption.  We are asking them how they will use the legislative session to work to make our families secure and our communities whole. We believe our elected leaders can build a more just and equitable Minnesota with innovative thinking and courageous action.  Click here for more information.  

 

 

Participants at the Rice County Faith Summit, held at St. Dominic’s Catholic Church in Northfield, make a telephone call to their legislator who was unable to attend.

 

“Roll Toward Progress – Don’t Roll to a Stop” 

Rally and Action:

April 16, 11:00 am

We are at a critical point in the session with our state leaders debating transportation funding plans that may fall drastically short of what transit riders need. All people have dignity and deserve the opportunity to live abundant lives; connecting to jobs, schools, health care and others in our community.

Join us for a day of action at the State Capitol to send a strong message to the Legislature that we need a comprehensive funding bill that includes dedicated and sustainable funding for public transit!

Meet at the Leif Ericson statue on the Minnesota Capitol grounds, right off of the Capitol Green Line light rail stop.

 

On April 2, clergy and faith leaders, including many from ISAIAH, held a press conference and spoke out against the destructive practices of payday lending, applauded the potential regulation from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, and launched Exodus Lending to purchase predatory debt. The community then shared bread and wine which were given on this day, Holy Thursday, in recognition that we are all one body.  Jon Collins covered this event for Minnesota Public Radio. You can read his article here.
On April 2, clergy and faith leaders, including many from ISAIAH, held a press conference and spoke out against the destructive practices of payday lending, applauded the potential regulation from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, and launched Exodus Lending to purchase predatory debt. The community then shared bread and wine which were given on this day, Holy Thursday, in recognition that we are all one body.    

 

Sherry Shannon, Rev. Paul Slack, ISAIAH president (left) and Rev. Billy Russell, pastor at Greater Friendship Missionary Baptist Church in Minneapolis (right).  Behind her are ISAIAH pastors and community members who are opposed to the outrageous interest rates charged on these types of loans.

MinnesotaCare

ISAIAH helped organize 83 organizations to send the Speaker of the House Kurt Daudt a letter strongly opposing the elimination of MinnesotaCare.  MinnesotaCare has provided reliable, comprehensive, affordable public health coverage to Minnesota families for over 20 years. Its elimination would harm over 90,000 Minnesotans who rely on it for affordable health care.  Click here to read the letter and see the 83 organizations that signed it.

Minneapolis Parents and Educators of Faith Public Meeting

April 23 from 7-9:00pm 

Redeemer Lutheran Church, 1800 Glenwood Ave in Minneapolis

ISAIAH parents and educators of faith have been working with Minneapolis Public School administrators to end racial gaps in its school discipline policies. Some policy changes have been made, however, we must continue to take critical steps forward to create equity in our public schools.  Please join us to discuss how we will make all schools welcoming, restorative and safe for students of color; examine what we must do to take bold steps to truly eliminate discipline disparities; and, share stories about the impact of recent policy changes to end discipline disparities.

To register for the event: www.tinyurl.com/educatorsoffaith

 

 

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